Saturday, June 30, 2007

(Proven) Green Taxes – 2

Do green policies achieve what they are aiming at, or actually aggravate environmental problems? On 28 June a BBC Radio4 Today programme discussion on bio-diesel crops, it was suggested that to replace ordinary food crops with bio-diesel ones may not be environmentally clever. The point was made however that if the only crops that will grow in a location are bio-diesel ones then it probably is effective. Sometimes so many side effects of green policies need taking into account that it is difficult to justify them.

There is one area of green taxation that has proved to be effective on several counts. See the website: (click ‘Themes’ and then ‘Split Rate Taxation’). Look at the various examples of the property taxation of land values and building values. The higher the ratio of land value tax to buildings tax the less farmland is taken for building, the more efficient is the use of existing roads and drainage, and the less urban sprawl results. For over 25 years in the US State of Pennsylvania the results have been coming in to prove these facts. Comparisons can be made with similar towns which have not taxed the land of plots more highly than the buildings on them and in these cases such environmental (and also social) results are markedly poorer. Someone has studied 237 cases of Land Value Taxation world-wide and found similar improvements in all of them.

Our new UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown should allow local authorities the option to tax land values as well as building values to raise their Council Tax. It is not a risky green tax policy – it has been proved to work. Read the book The Free Lunch –Fairness with Freedom for more on such themes and their beneficial outcomes.


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